“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’’ (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)
I rarely start the blog with scripture, but this was so impactful that I had to start with this. I learned that to follow God, obey him, live a life of impact as God would have it, one needs focus – ‘laser’ focus. On one thing at a time.
I love anecdotes and daily living illustrations to share my heart and what God has taught me. Today, I will use my early morning power walks. It starts at 5.30am, so it’s still dark in the morning when I do this. My path for the power walk is a paved sidewalk of a busy long road. The pavement is not well tended so you will find parasitic shrubs growing surreptitiously between the cracks and on the sides. Its not so bad but it with small stones, these can be a distraction if you do not concentrate from time to time on the ground as you walk briskly. About 250 meters to the left is road with busy traffic. At that time of morning, it’s quiet but you do have the odd taxi driver, grocery delivery van, garbage van driving with the highest speed so it’s not advisable to walk on the road either. So, the best option for my power walk is the footpath/sidewalk itself.
So as I walk with speed and briskness to get my blood pumping and the calories burned, I need to pay attention on the ground not to get my ankles bruised by any thorny shrubs and at the same time look up so I see where I am going just in case I have another morning walker in the opposite direction. It’s a combination of my feet, arms moving briskly to get exercise, then my eyes looking down and ahead in a coordinated and concerted effort. My ears also play a very key role as I listen out for cars coming behind me or ahead of me. Though they are on the road, one needs to be alert as they do drive recklessly. I also listen out for stray (sometimes wild) dogs in the neighbourhood who frighten me. Lol.
So, all my senses are engaged in this power walk and on this very day, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me that this is like the life of the believer and my walk with God – the narrow leads to life. It’s not a leisure walk; it’s not a careless walk; it’s not jay walking. It has purpose; it has direction; it has a destination each day. There is no real arrival, as I do it daily with a target that changes but it keeps building my stamina, gives me energy, endurance, leg and thigh muscles. As I do this, I walk cautiously looking out for all the distractions, dangers so I do not get my ankles bruised, or worse still sprain my ankles by tripping over stones, get hit by a car or get apprehended by stray dogs. I am vigilant, but I am still conscious of the purpose of the walk. To exercise. And I achieve that but not with ease.
I am sure you can draw parallels already. The path to follow God daily in the small things and the big things takes some discipline. A little to the right or a little to the left, you lose balance and you can get hurt or even destroyed on many levels. Just as my walk taught me, Christ said, “narrow the road that leads to life”.
I have often pondered what this means beyond what we were taught – which was not indulging in the world and fleshy desires. This may be part of it but its not the whole story. I may not have the entire revelation yet but here is one for sure.
- Ask yourself, in your own life and walk with God, what is your experience with keeping focus, following the path God has asked of you, even if it’s merely obeying his word?
- As I described above, what are the parasitic shrubs in your pathway, stones to make you trip, oncoming reckless traffic behind and ahead of you that can hit you, or wild dogs ready to bite and attack at the smallest impulse or who bark so loud that you jump out of your skin in fright?
- If you have not drawn an inference by now, let me submit my humble opinion for consideration – these are the wiles of the enemy that scripture speaks of in Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (NKJV)
- Parasitic shrubs on the pathway are the things in our lives that steal time and resources from us if we are not watchful; they also bruise us enough to distract us from purpose because we need to tend to the harm they cause. Stones may be the sins that easily beset us and make us fall; though small, they are those presumptuous sins and secret faults that we need to be aware of.”Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;Let them not have dominion over me. (Psalms 19:13, NKJV). The reckless drivers and wild dogs may be disaster looming when we allow the distractions to keep our eyes off the road and where we are going.
It’s a lot of juggling but this is life as we know it today and with a heart sold out to God, obedience to His leading and vigilance, we can be one of the ‘few’ who find the ‘small gate and narrow road that leads to life’ that Christ describes in Matthew. We can achieve purpose on each walk, be it ministry, family, work, finances, all the different facets of life! But this starts with focus!